Police launch investigations into Mardi Gras incidents
NSW Police have launched internal investigations into two separate incidents at the Sydney Mardi Gras Parade, which have sparked allegations of police brutality.
The first incident, which took place at about 10pm on Saturday near Crown Street, was captured by video and posted on YouTube.
That footage shows a handcuffed 18-year-old man thrown to the ground by police and held facedown by the officer’s foot.
It has been determined that the officer involved is from the Fairfield Local Command.
This morning NSW Police said the man in the video was charged with a range of offences including using offensive language, assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest.
The second incident took place at around 11.30pmon Crown Street, where a man was involved in an altercation with officers from Parramatta Local Area Command.
The man was charged with offences relating to assault.
Both incidents have ignited claims of excessive force and police brutality at this year's Sydney Mardi Gras Parade.
Addressing the media this morning, Assistant Police Commissioner Mark Murdoch said the incidents are now before the Police Ombudsman and the Police Integirty Commission.
Despite the announcement, there are growing calls for an independent investigation into the incidents.
NSW Greens MP Cate Faerhmann said an independent investigation should examine whether homophobia was behind the unnecessary force used and whether police needed further training to prevent similar incidents in future.
“The footage I've seen is very disturbing and I know it will be deeply shocking to the gay community that desperately wants to trust the police for their own safety,” Faehrmann said.
"This community is one that still experiences homophobic violence and discrimination on the streets. Police officers should be trusted friends to this community – clearly there is a way to go yet.”
Greens LGBTI spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young echoed Faehrmann's call for an independent inquiry.
“I was at Mardi Gras and I saw people celebrating acceptance and happiness, so it is terrible that this event has now been overshadowed by multiple allegations of excessive use of force by police," Hanson-Young said.
“The footage that has emerged online is disturbing and my thoughts are with the young man involved.
“The NSW Police will be investigating the incident, but I support the calls from NSW Greens MP Cate Faehrmann and Independent MP Alex Greenwich for a wider investigation by an independent body into policing at Mardi Gras.”
Meanwhile, GetUp! has launched an online petition calling on the Police Minister to hold a public investigation into the incident.